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Chorros de Don Lolo, Santa Rosa de Cabal

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Departing from Santa Rosa, in the heart of Colombia's coffee-growing region, this hike forms a long loop to reach the mighty Chorros de Don Lolo waterfall before returning through plantation fields on the mountainside, overflown by numerous turkey vultures or condors. It's a long way without any technical difficulties, but you'll need to be careful with your orientation, as the second part of the loop is not so easy. Tropical forest, brightly-colored plants and butterflies, torrents and waterfalls, aerial ridges, coffee plantations and traditional houses: a varied hike ideal for discovering the region.

Devant les Chorros de Don Lolo

Technical summary

■ S tarting point: Santa Rosa de Cabal, Pereira, Risaralda, Colombia
Type of route: mid-mountain loop hike
Distance: 18.5 km
Cumulative elevation gain: +715 m
Cumulative negative elevation gain: -715 m
Estimated total time: 6h to 7h
■ Min and max altitude: 1700 m / 1935 m
Marking: no marking, combination of track and trail not always obvious
Equipment in place: none
Equipment to bring: useful GPS track, a pair of shoes for water and mud.

Difficulties: length of the route, accumulation of small climbs at the end, orientation in the final section.

Access to the place

From Cali, take the northern route via Cartago to Pereira. From there, follow signs for Chinchina and Mazinales, then turn towards Santa Rosa de Cabal. By bus, from the Cali terminal, the bus to Pereira takes about 3h30 and costs 40,000 pesos (TaxCentral minibus is very good). From the Pereira terminal, another more folkloric bus takes you to Santa Rosa in around 30' for 2,500 pesos. For accommodation, the Hotel Kímana is very good, simple but very welcoming and not very expensive (around 40,000 pesos per room).

Itinerary description

Course

Part 1: From Santa Rosa de Cabal to the Chorros de Don Lolo waterfalls

From the Basilica in the center of Santa Rosa, climb due south to the National Sanctuary overlooking the town. From here, follow the road which bends 90° to the east. You gradually leave the town and, further on, turn left to follow the signs for the San Vicente thermal baths. We walk along the road with many cyclists in training. The road climbs very gently, passing numerous shops selling fresh juice. After about 6.5 kilometers from the basilica, we reach the Don Lolo restaurant, where the trail to the waterfall begins.

Descend the wide path just before the restaurant. After crossing a small stream, the path winds its way down to the bottom of the valley. There's a dwelling occupied by a community that watches over the nature park. Keep straight ahead to cross a small yellow metal bridge over the Campo Alegrito. Continue for a short distance on the other side before reaching the T junction. Turn right to go up the right bank of the torrent (error on the base map) on a small, rather slippery and muddy forest path through the jungle. After 15' of climbing up a few switchbacks, you come to the Chorros de Don Lolo waterfall, which roars forcefully from its 30 or 40m height.
Part 2: the ridges

Retrace your steps to the T and this time go straight ahead. The path climbs steeply up to the crest, where you can see the Campo Alegre valley on the other side. Then head due west for a long walk along the ridge, with a few traditional buildings and spectacular views over the 2 valleys and the Chorros waterfall at our back. Look up, many Urubu hover around. The trail is hilly, cemented in places and soon steeply descending again. Watch out for the fork to the left and the Campo Alegrito below.
Part 3: through coffee plantations and back to Santa Rosa de Cabal

A long descent through a field of coffee trees. At the bottom is the home of the estate's owners. Continue along the wide, winding path, past several houses and at the last house, take care to take a very narrow path through the forest which ends up in the torrent bed. An old concrete bridge allows you to cross over and climb steeply up the opposite side until you reach the track where you'll find La Viga, a house offering drinks and a few things to eat.

From this point onwards, you need to be careful to follow the GPS track, as there are many forks and sections that are not very visible on the ground. Turn your back on La Viga and walk along the road/track for a short distance. After a bend, go downhill to the right through a gateway. Follow the road all the way down, cross a small stream and immediately afterwards climb to the left on steps made in the earth in the middle of a plantation.

It's hard to describe, but the trail is precise and easy to follow. The path climbs, winding between plantations and houses. Some passages are almost completely uncleared, but you can still read the trail on the ground. Eventually, you reach a track that leads up to the final ridge, from which you can see the town of Santa Rosa. From this ridge, follow the track down towards Santa Rosa. You'll come out at the bottom of the town, which you can climb back up to the starting point.

Map & topo

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